I am new to this forum but I am hoping someone can help. My son plays piano and we were hoping to purchase a relatively inexpensive microphone for him to use at home so he can give recitals to family and friends. So, in short, he wants to sing and play his piano to a small number of people in a medium sized room in the house.
We were hoping to hook up a microphone to our BOSE Soundlink III bluetooth speaker as we thought it would probably provide enough voice amplification (if I am using the right word). It appears that there may be two possibilities: 1. Hook up a microphone to the aux input at the back of the bose or 2. purchase a bluetooth microphone that could pair with the BOSE. Could someone tell me if one or both of these are options and what make and type of microphone you would recommend?
Thanks for your time.
Thank you for joining the Bose Community.
I work with our Bose Pro Portable PA products (sound reinforcement for live music). That's my frame of reference.
Your SoundLink III is great at what we engineered it to do, but it wasn't built to provide amplification for live vocals (your son singing through a microphone). That application has different demands.
We can still talk about it though. I've provided links to examples of products that should work. These are not endorsements or recommendations.
Now that's out of the way, here's how I would approach connecting a microphone to the Bose SoundLink III.
To connect a microphone to the Aux input, you need a preamplifier (preamp) for the microphone. You can get a small mixer with preamp built in, for under $100. Something like that would have some tone controls too. Many singers prefer to sing with an effect called reverb (short for reverberation). You may need to spend a little more on a mixer that has effects. Here is an example of a small mixer with effects.
Optional - something to consider if your son would like to sing with background music instead of the piano
If you want to play background music while your son sings, you'll need to connect the sound source for that music to the music. You won't be able to play music via Bluetooth at the same time as you are connected to the Aux input.
For under $300 you can look a personal monitor amplifier that has a mixer with effects built-in. I happen to have this one: TC-Helicon VoiceSolo FX150. It doesn't have Bluetooth but you can use a cable to connect a phone or other device for your background music. If you had something like this, you wouldn't use the Bose SoundLink III.
I wouldn't use a Bluetooth microphone for live vocals. One limitation of Bluetooth is a delay between the input (like a microphone) and when you hear it coming out of the loudspeaker. This isn't an issue with prerecorded music, but for a singer, the delay can be disconcerting.
That's an introduction to the basics.
I'm happy to answer questions.
Thanks so much for your detailed reply and the ideas you provided. I am starting from ground zero in terms of knowledge in this area so I am grateful for any constructive input I get. I did a little research after I read your email. I like the idea of getting a mixer with a preamp. Just to be clear, am I correct in saying that the mic would be directly connected to the mixer/preamp which in turn would be connected to the BOSE? I think this option is worth trying. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
In addition, I tried to understand the relationship between a preamp and a power amp better. My understanding is that a preamp boosts and cleans a weak signal coming from a device such as a microphone before it can be fed to a power amp/speaker. So, my question for you is whether all mics need a preamp? If I purchase a preamp and I am not happy with the sound I get through the BOSE, could I then go and purchase a relatively inexpensive power amp/speaker (say like the this one https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/fender-fender-acoustasonic-15w-guitar-combo-amp-2313700000/1026...?) and use it in combination with the preamp. If a preamp is not required (I can't tell whether it is or it is not), then another option is to simply purchase a power amp/speaker. What do you think?
Anyway, any advice is welcome and I understand that you are not making recommendations or endorsements. I am prepared to make some realtively inexpensive investments to gain some knowledge and I realise not everything I purchase will work out as I plan but I see that as part of the learning process.
Thanks for picking up on the conversation.
You wrote: "am I correct in saying that the mic would be directly connected to the mixer/preamp which in turn would be connected to the BOSE?"
You wrote: " My understanding is that a preamp boosts and cleans a weak signal coming from a device such as a microphone before it can be fed to a power amp/speaker. "
Yes, although some power amps and powered speakers have preamps built-in.
You wrote: "my question for you is whether all mics need a preamp?"
Here are some more ideas. These are generalizations that will apply to most devices.
Mixers with microphone inputs (XLR inputs) have preamps built-in. XLR inputs look like this.
The top two are regular XLR inputs.
The bottom two are called combo jacks but these accept XLR inputs.
The microphone input on the Fender amp you mentioned has an XLR input at the top left.
You wrote: "If I purchase a preamp and I am not happy with the sound I get through the BOSE, could I then go and purchase a relatively inexpensive power amp/speaker (say like the this one https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/fender-fender-acoustasonic-15w-guitar-combo-amp-2313700000/1026...?) and use it in combination with the preamp."
You won't need a separate preamp with this powered amp/speaker. Amps like this are often called combo (combination) amps because they have the preamplifier, power amplifier, and loudspeaker all-in-one unit.
You can plug a microphone directly into this combo amp. No separate preamp would be required.
You wrote: " If a preamp is not required (I can't tell whether it is or it is not), then another option is to simply purchase a power amp/speaker. What do you think?"
This is a guitar combo amp that happens to have a microphone input. This might sound fine. It may not. Years ago (mid 20th century), lots of performers sang and played their guitars through their guitar amps. I haven't heard this amp, but in your shoes, I might try it.
I noticed that your research has led you to retail outlet with a clear return policy. That's good because it means you can try things out and see how they sound.
You'll also need a microphone stand.
All of the links are pointing to the same retailer so you can go through the exercise of adding everything to a shopping cart to figure out your total cost.
How are you doing with all of this information?
Thanks for all the information. It has been a great education. Just one more question for the moment. I have struggled to find a "vocal" power amp/speaker. Maybe I just don't know how to recognize one. They all seem to be designed for instruments with the exception of the combo which seems to be for both. Is it possible to get one dedicated to vocals and, if yes, could you identify an inexpensive one that I could review and consider as an option.
Before replying to your last post I did a lot of searching "to find a "vocal" power amp/speaker".
The key feature in the search is a microphone input and tone controls. Built-in effects are nice.
I didn't find anything I felt comfortable mentioning for under $300 CDN. Here are a couple I have heard that would do a good job in the situations you described. These are between both under $400 CDN.
The links I provided are to a vendor with a clear return policy.
Of the two, I prefer the TC-Helicon unit. I have compared it side-by-side with the Mackie. I think it sounds superior. It also has built-in reverb to give you a pleasant effect many vocalists prefer, and some effective vocal processing. You can read more about it on the TC-Helicon website.
Both the Mackie and TC-Helicon units would support both vocals and an electronic keyboard. That could be handy if your son decides to take the show on the road to outside social events or performances. Both units can serve as personal system and can be connected to much larger sound systems in larger venues. That means, if your son pursues his musical interests to the stage, he might continue to use a unit like this. If you are of a mind to view it this way, either one of these is an investment.
There are Karaoke machines in the lower price ranges but I have no experience with them. I can't imagine using them outside the home.
Was that helpful?
Great information - thanks so much. Your ideas have given me additonal options to research further. The cheaper combo amp/speaker I mentioned in a previous email is possibly something to consider initially, but now I am beginning to think more about the TC-Helicon as a long term investment.
I have looked at the specs and reviews for the TC-Helicon and I have a quick question. Am I right in saying that a mic and an instrument (e.g. keyboards, guitar) can be hooked up and fed through this unit at the same time? So, in theory, my son could be playing the keyboards and singing into the mic and using the same amp/speaker to do both.
If we're looking toward the future with an eye on professional equipment you'll want to check out
This suitable for the livingroom up to performance venues of 100 attentive listeners. There's the Bose Professional Portable PA family of products to consider as your son's career progresses. If you want to continue that conversation, please join me in our Bose Pro Portable PA Community.